WholeWorldBand Bags €5M From Balderton And Others To Grow Its Music Collaboration Platform

WholeWorldBand, an iOS app that aims to generate new revenue streams for professional musicians by giving fans an opportunity to collaborate with them on unfinished tracks, has closed a €5 million Series A.

The round tops up the €200,000 funding the startup had taken in before for its music collaboration platform. The new round was led by IIU and Balderton Capital.

WholeWorldBand’s collaboration platform isn’t just for professional musicians — although they provide the big pull, with major recording artists currently signed up to upload content to the platform including The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, The Police’s Stewart Copeland, Eurythmics’ David Gray and Dave Stewart, and Passenger.

The basic idea is that users can collaborate with these musicians, or with each other, in virtual jam sessions (albeit, it’s not offering live jamming) to create music mash-ups. These mash-ups aren’t just audio. Recordings are videoed, so the resulting collaborations also become video montages, as well audio mixes.

On the business model side, the platform lets those who are uploading content charge an ‘entry fee’ of between €0.89 to €5.99 for other users to gain access to their ‘seed session’ — as the recordings are called — so they can work with the material.

The size of the fee is determined by the musician who made the recording, with WholeWorldBand taking a cut to monetize the platform. It does not, however, take any ownership rights away from content uploaders.

The opportunity being spied here by investors is the potential to create new digital revenue streams for musicians — by giving them a way to monetize unfinished tracks and do so in a way that brings them closer to their fans, and also without devaluing the concept of a finished track.

The platform aims to be somewhere for musicians to throw out fragments and ideas, bouncing them off their fan-base — and making money in the process. The startup points to the money artists and record labels are already making from fan generated music videos on YouTube, and says it’s aiming to tap into that appetite by offering simplified tools for music fans to play around with their favourite tracks.

Commenting on the funding in a statement, Balderton’s Barry Maloney said: “WholeWorldBand creates a new revenue model for Artists and is underpinned by a world class rights management system. Balderton Capital sees enormous potential in WholeWorldBand.”

Specifically, WholeWorldBand told TechCrunch is will be using the new funding for “scaling rapidly” — including developing the platform for other platforms which users are requesting, such as Mac, Windows and Android.

It also said it will be spending on new features aimed at boosting engagement and creativity — such as deeper social network integration and creative audio and video features.

“These features will greatly improve the user experience, engagement and widen the community of fans and musicians that users can create and engage with, enabling more creativity, expression and enjoyment with simple-to-use tools,” it added.